It's plutonium trigger has been decayed by natural radiation ever since.
No one KNOWS what this means.
The weapons' safety may be in question, and it's reliability certainly is.
And now.....TIME MAG:
So we are talking about REPLACEMENT one for one of warheads 22+ years olds, and trimming down significantly, the explosive force of the arsenal."The Reliable Replacement Warhead is not about new capabilities but about safety, reliability and security," Gates said in a speech in the week before last November's election. In an article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, released in early December after Gates was tapped by Obama to stay on at the Pentagon, Gates repeated that refrain. "Even though the days of hair-trigger superpower confrontation are over, as long as other nations possess the bomb and the means to deliver it, the United States must maintain a credible strategic deterrent," he wrote. "Congress needs to do its part by funding the Reliable Replacement Warhead program -- for safety, for security and for a more reliable deterrent." RRW basically trades explosive force for greater assurance that new warheads would work predictably in the absence of tests, which the U.S. has refrained from conducting for nearly two decades to help advance nonproliferation goals.
Now, let's pretend you are Putin looking at the election, the majority party, the stated polcies and promises...what are you thinking?
But Obama doesn't buy that logic. Shortly after taking the oath of office on Tuesday, he turned what had been a campaign promise into an official presidential commitment: the new Administration "will stop the development of new nuclear weapons," the White House declared flatly on its website, with no equivocation, asterisks or caveats.Obama and Gates are "at loggerheads on this," says Michael O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution who has specialized in nuclear issues.
We still have ~10,000 weapons. How many are worth keeping, maintaining?
Is the entire land based missile force worth keeping?
Can we move out deterrent to more cruise missiles both in the navy and air force?
Should we replace land based warheads with undersea warheads?
None of these issues can be addressed or DETERRENT (not war fighting) capabilities can be addressed while Obama maintains a no more nukes outlook. We may end up with fewer less destructive warheads that last 40 or 50 years, and a more credible deterrent, but not with the current outlook.
The democrats are far more interested in appearance rather than substance on this issue.
Somewhere Hu Jintao, Vlad, Kim, Ali Khamenei and Dinner Jacket are smirking confidently that Bambi is in the forest.
It's not just about 9th century beards with AK47's in caves.
That's the way it is